What are the risks of a forceps delivery?

Giving birth is an amazing yet unpredictable event. Babies make their own rules when it comes to making their entrance into the world. This means that even with the perfect birth plan at a California hospital, things could change without notice. Issues that may not have been present before could come up or something unexpected could happen. 

One situation that you could find yourself in is your baby needing help to exit the womb. Your doctor may suggest the use of forceps. According to the Mayo Clinic, a forceps delivery does come with some risks. It increases the risks to you for complications or pain that are already associated with a vaginal birth and include uterine rupture, tears, incontinence, anemia, bleeding and injuries to the urethra and bladder.

For your baby, the risks are more severe. However, you should understand that when done by a trained professional, forceps birth injuries are rather rare. The most common issue will be bruises or marks on the baby's face from the actual forceps. More serious issues include trauma to the eye, face and skull. A forceps delivery could also cause your baby to have seizures, bleeding on the brain or facial palsy.

In most situations, forceps are only used as a last resort if your baby is in the birth canal and you are unable to push him or her out. They are only done if there is access to an operating room for a C-section in case they do not work. This information is for education and is not intended as legal advice. 

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